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Issue 230 - Just Being Better Than the Rest Doesn't Make You a Success

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 5 Issue 230
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Joshua Wooden taught his son John:
Never try to be better than someone else; but always be learning from others. Never cease trying to be the best you can be. One is under your control; the other isn’t.
This lesson from his father led Coach Wooden to having a somewhat unique approach to the importance of the scoreboard; he described it this way:
If you truly do your best, and only you will really know, then you are successful and the actual score is immaterial whether it was favorable or unfavorable. However, when you fail to do your best, you have failed even though the score might've been to your liking.
Coach created a much loftier goal than just being better than the rest for himself and his teams. He described it in his book Wooden, with Steve Jamison:
Perfection is what you are striving for, but perfection is an impossibility. However, striving for perfection is not an impossibility. Do the best you can under the conditions that exist. That is what counts.
Our teams at UCLA had four perfect seasons, but we never played a perfect game, never played as well as we could. That would be perfection. We didn’t reach perfection, but we constantly strove toward it.
I believe there is nothing wrong with the other fellow being better than you are if you’ve prepared and are functioning in the way you’ve tried to prepare. That’s all you can do.
But there is something wrong if you’ve failed to measure up to your ability because you haven’t prepared.
This approach resulted in an environment of constant improvement and eliminated the tension people sometimes feel when success in their mind is simply based on an outcome. Coach put it this way:
I removed stress - the kind that comes from a fear of losing or an overeager appetite to win - by focusing exclusively on improvement and teaching the team that ongoing and maximum progress was the standard, our daily goal.
When those on your team accept this idea - not just accept it but really believe it - they are in complete control of their success because the quality of their effort is up to them.
Whether it’s coaching a basketball team, running a sales organization or preparing for a test in school, this approach has been proven to work.
What’s your approach to a competitive situation?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




Watch Video

Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry


Just for today I will be happy 

 This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that "most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."  Happiness is from within, it is not a matter of externals.

Just for today I will try to adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires.

I will take my family, my business and my luck as they come and fit myself to them.

Just for today I will take care of my body.

I will exercise it, care for it, nourish it, not abuse it nor neglect it, so that it will be a perfect machine for my bidding.

Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind.

I will learn something useful.  I will not be a mental loafer.  I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways.

I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out.  I will do at least two things I don't want to do, as William James suggests, just for exercise.

 Sybil F. Partridge 






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